Chapter 4 - Operating System
Structured Programming - The Power of Organization
Taking control of your environment and life
In his book The Anatomy of Power, John Kenneth Galbraith stressed that organization is the source of power which deserves the most attention: Organization, the third of the sources of power, normally exists in association with property and, in greater or less measure, with personality. It is, however, more important than either, and in modern times increasingly so.[ His opinion is echoed (by Adolf Berle, Jr.):
No collective category, no class, no group of any kind in and of itself wields power or can use it. Another factor must be present: That of organization. 
These two authors obviously feel that organization is a crucial asset. Yet upon even thinking about the word “organization,” many people shudder. It conjures up images of factories, armies, your mother yelling at you to clean up the room. This is an incorrect perception. Organization is something that any person aspiring towards success must learn. It is something to be appreciated. Too many people mistake organization for routine. As the British author, Sir Arthur Helps, wrote:
“Routine is not organization, any more than paralysis is order.” I do not associate organization with a schedule. Schedules are too inflexible. They are only for people who cannot think for themselves. By being organized, a person should be able to anticipate and deal with anything that comes in his way without need of resorting to routine and habit.
According to Galbraith, the power that is derived from organization is three-fold. First, it derives the ability to influence events outside of its own structure from the strength of integrity - or discipline, for lack of a better word! - internally. That is to say, you must stand by your commitment in organization of your life. Like an army containing dissenting ranks among itself, disorder within will disrupt effective control without.
Secondly, the power of an organization is “dependent … on its association with the other sources of power [property and personality] … and on its access to the instruments of enforcement.” What Galbraith is telling us is that organization itself is not enough. There must be other sources of power to “energize” the structure of organization. In other words, organization alone cannot provide you with long-term strategic advantage without the various tactical advantages - for example, your memory skills - that fit into the larger scheme of things. This is why I stressed earlier that a system of unification is necessary to take maximum advantage of all these separate skills and tools. Finally, Galbraith states that “there is an association between the power of an organization and the number and diversity of the purposes for which submission is sought.” Here, he uses the word “submission” to mean the achievement of objectives. Using the terminology we discussed before, this final attribute of organization stresses the point that the more concentrated the power, the more effective the action.
Therefore, in our paradigm of the cyborg, we cannot build a cyborg without a “metal skeleton.” If you remember the movie, The Terminator, recall that near the end even when all the other parts of its body were destroyed, the cyborg continued to operate with minimal power via its metal skeleton, walking out from the massive explosion that fried all its other components. This image conveys the incredible advantage of good organization. It serves to hold everything else up, and keeps us supported even when individual mechanisms - individual skills, or tools - fail us.
Most people’s incorrect perception of organization stems from faulty childhood exposure to the term. Teachers and parents probably told them to “get organized” and set up a schedule for them so that they would do certain things at certain times. This is a horrible way of looking at the concept of organization. By shutting the person inside a steel cage of daily routine, there is hardly any room left for creative problem-solving. If something unexpected came up, something that the person - and indeed, the schedule itself - did not anticipate, then disaster results. Strict “organization” by attempting to control for all variables is impossible. We learned this lesson from chaos theory, the branch of mathematics that deals with unpredictability in complex systems. Perhaps some of you have come across the concept of chaos theory in Michael Crichton’s book (and movie) Jurassic Park. In it, the character of Ian Malcolm describes exactly why it is impossible to anticipate each and every scenario, and that it would be arrogant and useless for us to try to do so. Thus, the real value of organization lies in the fact that we can place certain items in strategically advantageous positions, so that when the unexpected strikes, we are maximally prepared to deal with it. Therefore, the virtue of organization is not success via constraint, but success via freedom - freedom achieved and afforded by the strength of a well-constructed foundation, so that risks are minimized and the limits of protected exploration and experimentation are consequently extended.
Spatial Advantage - Establishing your HQ
How to acquire some elbow room in which to manoeuvre
When it comes down to the basics, there are only two things in the universe which really need our attention concerning organization: Space and Time. In fact, according to scientists, space and time are the same thing. So in our organization of our life, we are in fact making Space/Time work for us.
To begin with, let us tackle space first. Answer this simple question: Is your room organized? That is, can you honestly say that it is neat and tidy? Have you emptied the trash-can, or is it overflowing with garbage? Are there books and magazines everywhere? Are your clothes strewn about the floor? Do you have mountains of paper - especially those ubiquitous receipts from automated banking machines - on your desk? Can you even see where the desk is?
A good way of assessing whether or not your room is a suitable place to act as your headquarters of operations, your HQ, is to stand in the centre of it, and consider whether or not your mind is calm, clear and relaxed in this environment. If everywhere you look there is something bothering you, or something that disrupts your attention, then you need to get rid of those items. You cannot hope to maximize your studying performance if your attention is constantly compromised by extraneous variables.
There are three steps to cleaning out your room:
- Throw out the useless junk.
- Throw out more junk.
- Throw out the rest of the junk.
These three steps are more serious than they appear. In the first step, you get rid of anything that is obvious trash such as gum wrappers and used tissue paper. Empty your garbage can. Launder the bed sheets if that is necessary - it probably is. Vacuum or sweep the place. Do a really good job of cleaning the junk out. You will not likely clean your room as thoroughly, for a long time to come!
Having thrown out the existing garbage, you now get rid of anything that will soon become trash. This includes old magazines and newspapers that you have read and don’t need to keep (If you are keeping a certain periodical because you think some of its articles would be useful in a termpaper, or presentation, be advised that a good library would probably have that publication on microfilm - alternatively, you can just rip out the specific articles and store them away). Store away in a box (or sell) those books that you never touch, never will read, and are simply a waste of space to keep around. Move out useless items on the desk or on the floor. Relocate or store away extra clothing that is just taking up closet space. Get rid of anything else you can think of that is not important at all but you just kept it because you didn’t know what to do with it, or didn’t know who to give it to.
Finally, you must consider every item that now remains in your room. Carefully assess its worth. Do you absolutely need it? Will it help you achieve your objectives, or will it turn out to be a nuisance? The more items that are unrelated to your tasks, the higher the probability of your mind being distracted, and the lower the chances are of you hanging around and doing your work like you’re supposed to. For example, imagine you’re reading your textbook when, out of the corner of your eye, you spy a poster of your favourite rock group. Now, unless the poster means absolutely nothing to you (in which case, it shouldn’t be around anyway) you might daydream by reminiscing about a concert you went to with your friends. You may then start to entertain the prospect of going out to party as an alternative to studying. Now, regardless of whether or not you actually abandon your work, you don’t need that kind of temptation. This goes for anything else that will be distracting. You be the judge. The exceptions are items such as cassette players or a VCRs, because these are tools that you can utilize - as you will later learn. Various decorations, such as flowers or pictures, may also be essential to your general ease of mind when working in your room, and certain items may even serve as inspiration or support. While I was studying for my final exams one year, I had on my wall a large painting of an ancient warship ravaged by a stormy sea. My father had given it to me a long time ago, and I focused on it with renewed interest. I admired how it refused to be capsized and majestically overcame the torrential wind and waves, and told myself that I, too, can brave the pressures and demands surrounding me.
When your room is finally free of clutter, finish the organization process by putting your textbooks, pens, pencils, calculators, dictionaries, and other essential items near your desk, for easy access. Make sure your trash can is big enough so that you can throw away any garbage before it starts cluttering up your room again, and promise yourself that you will empty it every other day. The last, and most important thing you have to do is make sure your computer system - if you have one - is ready to be used. Is there enough paper in the printer? Is the ink or toner supply abundant? Do you need new diskettes? Do you need any upgrades? Get your computer hardware and software up to specs so that at the very least you can use it for word-processing. Primary Defense Systems - Armor in the Space/Time Continuum Pushing Back the Boundaries of Personal Time Now that you have established your spatial domain, it is necessary that you find the time to do your work. This is not as simple as it sounds. I will explain by using the concept of shielding:
Light Shielding (or light armor) is psychological distance from things that drain your time. This includes friends and relatives that make non-vital demands on you. I will go into this in more detail later. Other things to defend yourself against are television shows (especially soap operas) and magazine articles that provide nothing more than “pure entertainment value.” The reasons to avoid these things will become evident.
Heavy Shielding (or heavy armor) is physical separation from sources of distraction. The simplest example is shutting and locking your door and preventing surprise visits that take up your room and time. Another example is unplugging the telephone. An extreme example would be to move your entire base of operations into the mountains somewhere in the north pole (although getting to school might then become a rather perplexing problem). Heavy shielding is used when light shielding fails to work. If you cannot prevent yourself from watching soap operas, then remove the television, or give it to someone.
Unfortunately, the use of shielding requires some strength of character on your part. One of the things that some people find they cannot stop themselves from doing is talking endlessly on the telephone on numerous (and trivial) topics. If you cannot stop yourself from wasting time like that, I would not recommend throwing the telephone out the window because you may need to use it in an emergency. However, turning off the ringer, or unplugging the phone usually suffices. When people cannot hear their phones ring, after a while they settle down and become somewhat anti-social. This is good (to some extent) for people who are hooked on going out, or “partying” with their friends. Perhaps you’ve already experienced this some time in your life already and know what I am talking about - perhaps for a certain period of time you were able to isolate yourself because you decided you really had to “get down to work” and found that you actually desired your solitude and peace. Sometimes when I get into this Zero-Zone (“Zero” referring to the term “social zero”) I try to maintain it (at the cost of social status and interaction, which turns out to be a surprisingly small price to pay in order to be able to focus on your work and success) I don’t want to get out of it, and try to avoid all forms of social influence completely. Sometimes, a voice in my head might rationalize that I need a “break” and should go out and party for a while to “relax,” but in actual fact, disrupting the Zero-Zone state of mind like this will not “recharge” you, but instead ruin your placid mind state, and introduce horribly tempting options that take you away from your work. For example, if you went out and had a real blast one night, but still had a big exam or assignment due the next week, then upon your return to your work you may find that your tolerance for continuing to work has been lowered. In other words, you find it harder to concentrate on your work, and easier to rationalize that you can “go out just one more night” since the exam or due date is so far away, or rationalize that you “deserve” it.
I am not advocating total seclusion or a life as a hermit, but unless you are honestly and absolutely uninfluenced by social temptations (which is hardly likely) then there is no reason why you should put your important work in jeopardy by relatively trivial social events. You must judge for yourself whether or not an opportunity for socializing, or recreation, is justified in light of the fact that it may well hinder the successful completion of your projects - by ruining your “zone” state of mind. When considering if a certain social event is really worth your while, remember what Sarah Conner was told: “Look at it this way, in a hundred years, who’s gonna care?” But if you don’t do your work, maybe in a hundred years, your descendants will care!
With regards to the telephone - a device which either leads to a social excursion, or is a distraction in itself - if you find that you cannot help but allocate a significant part of your unconscious attention to it - wondering constantly whether or not it will ring, or has rung, and whether or not there is a message for you - and that you are concerned that you will miss an important call, by all means use a telephone answering machine. Keep the volume off so you can’t hear your friends screaming at you to pick the phone up because they have a really juicy bit of news to tell you). The new digital answering units perform marvellously because, unlike the regular cassette units, you cannot hear the mechanism work, and thus you don’t know that it is recording an incoming call. So-called “invisible” answering services,provided by your phone company, can silently route an unanswered call to a computerized answering device and likewise excellent for our purposes. The key is to avoid a situation in which you are heavily focussed into your work, either reading something or solving a problem, and then finding your attention broken because you heard the answering machine go on, and then sit and wonder who called, and why. If your machine is not absolutely silent, then try to move it out of your hearing range, or wrap it in towels to smother the noise. That way, you can virtually forget all about the telephone, and abandon all intentions of waiting for people to call you. Usually, if someone does call but leaves no message, there wasn’t anything important he or she wanted to say anyway. In this manner, you can screen out the time-wasters and pay attention only to calls that really mean something.
If, even with an answering machine, you’re still concerned about missing a certain special call, then install a caller-identifier unit on your line. This unit will provide information on the telephone number of the incoming call, usually with the time and date of that call. Your telephone company should be able to give you details on these and other “call management” services.There are, for instance, services which allow you to “block” certain telephone numbers from calling you, and this is useful for nuisance or indiscreet callers.
Let us summarize what has been discussed so far:
- Organization is critical to maximizing power
- Get rid of unnecessary items that complicate your life
- Set up barriers to distance yourself from the demands of other people
- Maximize your personal time by attending only to important things
- Prevent untimely disruptions of your work mindstate.
You may have noticed that there is a common theme to all these points, and that is the reduction of extraneous factors unrelated to your work. This is a very important rule to take note of, and we can find the rationale behind it by looking at how a computer works.
Ending Multi-Tasking - Applying Concentration of Power to Your Life
Why you shouldn’t chew gum and talk at the same time
A new generation of software has been released into the public for use on personal computers. This new software enables the computer to perform “multi-tasking” or the ability to run several different programs simultaneously. The benefits of this are, on the surface, many. For example, a user could be finishing up calculations on a spreadsheet program, while printing a report from his word-processor program, and at the same time playing the video-game Tetrisâ„¢. However, as veteran power-users will attest, the average time the computer spends on each task is compromised, and while it is nice to be able to do many things at once, usually out of the many tasks there is but a single one of major importance. In our example above, perhaps the job requiring top priority would be the printing of the report. The spreadsheet calculations might perhaps have only secondary or tertiary importance. The video game, obviously, did not need to be running.
Computers are able to perform multi-tasking because they allocate individual “time-slices” to each program, in effect giving each program a certain amount of time before abandoning it and going onto the next program. This time-sharing process fills the need to have a separate computer doing the other tasks, and its major advantage is economic. Unfortunately, the computer’s main processor - its “brain” - does not run any faster under multi-tasking, and therefore each component task now runs slower and at a lower level of performance.
The same thing happens to ordinary human beings - even cyborgs. Someone trying to juggle several tasks at the same time will find it enormously difficult to excel in them. It may be possible to complete all the tasks, but chances of peak performance would be reduced. In other words, multi-tasking is the anti-thesis of maxok and concentration of power.
Remember what we said earlier: The allocation of resources to a single objective are justified if and only if that objective has been achieved. Until achievement, all resources are considered wasted. Since humans aren’t really machines, multi-tasking our lives would result in lowered per-task performance, and higher probabilities of resource wastage. Your best course of action in the successful completion of projects is to remove all other things that have nothing or little to do with those projects. By streamlining your life, you increase “per-task processing power” and effectiveness.
In this concept of minimizing multi-tasking, I am not only referring to the explicit and obvious things that people do. It is easy to see why a person would have a harder time doing a whole bunch of things simultaneously, but there is a hidden aspect to all of this. Even when a student, for example, is sitting down at his desk and ready to study, with no other obligations, that does not necessarily mean his mind is not multi-tasking. It just means his body isn’t doing so. Unnecessary mental multi-tasking includes spending cognitive energies on worries, speculation, unending pondering, and generally keeping ideas revolving constantly in the mind. These additional hidden tasks are analogous to the “background operations” a computer performs in addition to the “foreground” main application. In computer jargon, they are either called Extensions (on the Macintosh computer), or TSR - terminate and stay resident - programs (on the MS-DOS machines). These background tasks encroach upon the performance of the microprocessor and almost always slow down the average performance of the machine. Likewise, not only must we stop conspicuous multi-tasking, but we must remove the additional burden of “background tasks” in our brains.
One way of preventing thoughts from revolving around and around in the mind is to do something about those thoughts. Usually, when people worry about something, their mind is trying to send them the message that they should be doing something about the problem. People who tend to procrastinate almost always feel guilty and worry. The only real solution to preventing all this additional mental baggage, is to attend to all the tasks that need to be done.
On the other hand, people sometimes worry unnecessarily. If a certain problem is beyond the power of the person to handle, then there is really no logical reason for them to be concerned about it. After all, it is out of their hands. But logic almost never wins in the struggle between it and emotion. Organisms, such as cyborgs and humans, are driven by emotion more than reason, most of the time. That is why being passionate about something is a much more powerful motive force than simply understanding the logic behind why you want to do something. Returning to our problem, we need to find a way of dealing with unnecessary worries. One of the best methods is to simply write down the problem on a piece of paper, and stow it away for the time being. By doing so, you are telling your mind “Hey, time-out here. I need the rest of your computing power. We’ll just ‘save’ this background program for now, and come back to it later. I promise.” When writing down your worry, you are freeing your memory systems. Once you you’ve put the worry in a permanent storage place, your mind realises that it does not have to spend any more energy reminding you of it - for whatever reason it thinks so highly of the problem - and gradually lets go. I always write down things that “bug” me at the beginning of a study session, or when I need my mind to be totally focussed. Then, I just forget about all those problems, and go to my present task. I am secure in the knowledge that whatever it was that I was so worried about - by that time I might even have forgotten what it was ! - is written down, and I can go back and read it, and enjoy the luxury (?!) of worrying about it after I finish the current job. Most people keep their worries in their minds at a high-level of awareness because they are afraid that they will forget this very important problem, whatever it is. Writing it down guarantees that they will not forget it, and without a good reason why it should keep the thought active, the mind decides to shut it down.
Therefore, regardless of the type of background task you have to disable, you can do either of two things about it, after you have written it down: If the task is an important one, you can read it again later and so that you can something about it; or if the task is something beyond your power to deal with, then just leave it. What I mean, however, is not that one should forget about all the things that one cannot directly affect. For example, a person can do something about his worry that he won’t be able to hand in his homework in time, but the same person is powerless against preventing an earthquake from happening. That does not mean he just sits and lets everything crumble around him. He takes action to minimize the effects of this natural disaster, but he should not spend time worrying about the earthquake itself. In other words, he can worry and do something about his material possessions, getting his family to safety, and things like that, but it is useless for him to worry about how terrible the earthquake will be, or what a stupid thing an earthquake is and who the hell invented it anyway, or how unfortunate the timing of it is (since it’s his birthday, and he was looking forward to a birthday party with lots of presents, but with the earthquake now he’s hard-pressed to find friends who are crazy enough to celebrate with him!). By differentiating between unnecessary worries, and those that we can and should take action to deal with, we free our minds and maximizing our overall cognitive processing power. In addition, we save yet more time and energy.
Cybernetic Energy Level - Ensuring Your Powerpack is Fully-Charged
The Essence of Total Success
Thus far, we have discussed methods to increase the amount of time and space available to you. Expanding the limits of these two factors will enable you to be more flexible and more effective when tackling your projects. However, increased time and space is of no value to you if you do not have the energy (and thus desire) to attend to your objectives. There are three areas that we need to look at, when it comes to energy levels. The first one is the quality and quantity of sleep we are getting. The second has to do with the types of foods we eat. Finally, we must look at how well our body is toned through the use of proper exercise.
Cyborg Cynoozing - Sleep and its Many Faces
Making the best of this organic constraint
One of the key variables involved in determining your energy level is sleep. Humans need restful sleep in order to recharge themselves. Mental performance is drastically diminished due to sleep deprivation or disturbance. Even with cybernetic assistance (see Chapter Nine) the organic component of the cyborg still has a requirement for an absolute minimum level of daily sleep.
The management of sleeptime is a critical endeavour. Inappropriate or inadequate sleep results in dire consequences. Many people will remember the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, in which a ship carrying oil crashed and produced an environmental nightmare. A recent report from the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research concluded that the major factor involved in the accident was the “severe fatigue” of the ship’s third mate who was in charge at the time. The commission called for more research to combat the nationwide “silent epidemic” of sleep disorders. Experts speculate that sleep problems cost society some $50 billion annually. Nearly 40 million Americans have sleep problems, and virtually no-one in America is getting enough quality sleep.
Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep, daily, to function properly. The reality, however, is that most people don’t get that much sleep done. Teenagers, in particular, sleep about 2 hours less than they did 80 years ago. James Walsh, director of the Sleep Disorders Research Center at Deaconess Hospital, says that “America has a sleep debt and in our opinion it’s every bit as important as the national debt.”
Inadequate sleep causes many problems, including damage to mental and physical health, impaired mental functioning, and host of other problems. Every nuclear accident, including Chernobyl, has occurred in the wee hours of the morning - a time when humans are naturally “down,” regardless of when they went to bed. Experts stress that a lot more research and attention must be paid to the problems of sleep. There is a tendency for most people to shrug it off and just try to “live with it.” In fact, sleepiness causes more problems than alcohol-related incidents.
Scientific research on sleep has been rather disappointing, and yet we still do not have a clear idea why we need to sleep. There has been an attempt at isolating a “sleep substance” in the human brain - a substance which may be responsible for the induction of sleep - but there have been no solid conclusions.
There is very little we can ascertain about why we need to sleep. One theory holds that nature selected this trait for humans so that we would not be exposed to the higher risks of night-time, during the earlier periods of our evolution. By forcing humans to sleep, and thus remain stationary, nature prevented our ancestors wandering around and falling into holes or the jaws of nocturnal predators. In addition, sleep may be a way of forcing us to save our energies, so that we will be more successful in our tasks (e.g., obtaining food) during the daytime when we can see properly. However, this energy-conservation theory does not answer the question why nature did not instead give us night-vision capability. In any case, since evolution has been kind enough to endow us with the many advantages that we already have - for example, the expanded frontal-lobes in the brain, the articulate fingers of the hand, and the architecturally magnificent structure of the foot - the general consensus is that the act of sleeping must somehow be absolutely vital to our survival, otherwise it should have been eliminated through the millennia.
Such inquiries and speculation into the purposes of sleep are interesting yet does not truly concern us right now. The fact is, we have to sleep. If we don’t sleep, we cannot perform at satisfactory levels. Therefore, a pragmatic approach is necessary and we have to pay careful attention to the many factors influencing our sleep. Our highest priorities are to maximize the effectiveness of our sleep, and minimize the time we actually spend sleeping. In order to do these things, we must first understand the basic mechanisms and principles behind sleep.
When we normally refer to sleep, we think of it as a single process, one that is defined as the opposite of wakeful activity. In fact, a complete “set” of sleep consists of subsets of different “types” of sleep. Scientists categorize the different types of sleep by the brainwave patterns they elicit. Brainwave patterns are measured by EEG - electroencephalogram - machines, and show the unique configurations of electrical activity in the brain. Different brainwave patterns mean that the brain is operating in different “modes” of thought, much the same way that the different ways that electricity surges through a computer’s circuitry determine the different functions the computer is performing.
The EEG patterns of sleep can themselves be broken down into four basic categories. When our brains are functioning normally in a wakeful mode, such as when we go about our daily activities, the EEG pattern of our brains would show beta waves. When we initially close our eyes and start to go to sleep, our brainwaves are mostly alpha. We relax our bodies, and our internal temperature starts to drop (the dropping of temperature is an evolutionary method of saving energy). Alpha waves can be elicited simply by shutting our eyes, and relaxing. After relaxing, we gradually enter deeper and deeper sleep. Our brainwaves become less active, and we are categorized as entering SWS, or slow wave sleep. When we are totally relaxed, and are deeply asleep, our brains finally elicit delta waves.
Sometime into the night, our brains switch from delta mode into theta mode. In this mode, our brains suddenly “awaken” even though the rest of the body is fast asleep. In fact, the characteristics of theta waves are somewhat similar to beta waves, and this creates an interesting phenomenon: We are sleeping, but our brain is wide awake. This type of sleep is known as paradoxical sleep. It is during this stage when we start to dream. Most people tend to think that we dream throughout the night. This is not so. We dream only intermittently, and only during theta stage. In addition, our eyes do a very interesting thing: They move. These rapid eye movements - or REM - occur only during the dreaming stages. When theta waves are present, our minds are in maximum creative mode. That is why dreams are so full of imagination and creativity. Otherwise, during our delta phase, our minds are essentially blank. Interestingly enough, during REM sleep, a biological mechanism kicks in and our bodies are virtually paralyzed for the duration. One theory holds that this was nature’s way of ensuring that we don’t physically act out our dreams. Research into sleepwalking speculates that the disorder is related to a fault in this paralysis mechanism.
REM sleep lasts for only a relatively brief amount of time. A dream that, upon waking, feels like it’s been going on for the entire night, may only have lasted less than an hour. Your time spent each night consists mostly of blank or “passive” delta sleep, and not “active” (dream) sleep. Therefore, for us to be able to obtain the rest we need every time we sleep, our bodies have to be able to enter the delta phases. If it cannot, because of interference from the environment or because of chemicals in our bodies, then we do not obtain restful sleep, and feel sluggish and groggy upon waking up.
The relationship between sleep and learning ability has been well-documented. Not only do we require fresh minds in order to maintain attention spans and concentrate on new information, but the act of sleeping seems to have a consolidation effect, organizing the information learned that day and registering it into their respective places in our memories. Sleep also induces maximum creativity, during the theta stage, and this may be one reason why some people go to bed with a problem, and wake up with the solution. Their imagination was active during REM sleep, and found a solution to the problem by considering all kinds of possibilities.
Before we continue our discussion regarding sleep, there is something else I must mention. All lifeforms on this planet are governed by cycles, or rhythms. These cycles vary between animals, and between functions within the same animal. Cycles can vary in length and classification. Some are annual cycles, while others have a monthly basis, and still others operate on a daily or even hourly schedule. An example of an annual cycle would be the blooming of flowers in the spring. A monthly cycle would be the normal menstruation periods of females. Finally, the best example of a daily cycle is the cycle of sleep. You can think of these natural cycles as biological clocks - or endogenous cycles (driven by internal clocks rather than by external events).
Daily cycles are called circadian rhythms (from the Latin circa meaning “around” and dia meaning “day”). Sleep cycles are both endogenous cycles and also circadian rhythms. Because of some warped sense of humour on the part of mother nature, the circadian rhythm of sleep in humans is, on average, based on a 25-hour cycle! In other words, we operate on an approximately 25-hour day, biologically, instead of the actual, physical 24-hour day.6 The implications of this are enormous. It means that if left to our own devices, and if all other variables were the same, we would go to sleep and wake up one hour later every day. This is one of the biggest reasons why most people find it hard to get out of bed at the same time every morning. Unfortunately for us, we have to live with this fact. So the next time someone yells at you and says you’re a lazy bum for sleeping so late, you can reply: “You know, there is a desynchronization between my circadian rhythm and the arbitrary and external concept of a 24-hour day.” I doubt that too many people will accept that as an excuse if you’re late for school or work, but at least you sounded really smart for about five seconds.
There is some more information about our circadian rhythms that you need to know. Scientists have determined that not only do we operate on a 25-hour biological clock, but that we are predisposed to sleep again several hours after waking up. In other words, we like afternoon naps. Some cultures, such as that of Mexico, revolve around the siesta - the afternoon nap. Everybody goes home and catches a few winks before going back to work. (That sort of makes the North American lunch-break a pretty pathetic invention!) Apparently, nature had a field day with our genes. It made us walking and talking monuments to tardiness and sloth!
But that can’t really be the case. Why would evolution make such a big mistake? In fact, it turns out that it was not nature, but humans who have made the mistake. Humans invented the 9-to-5 work day. Humans invented the 8 hour sleep schedule. To understand the mistake we have made, we will need to understand the difference between monophasic sleep, and polyphasic sleep.
Monophasic sleep is the “norm” for North American culture. We sleep at night, and work during the day. Polyphasic sleep consists of multiple sleep/wake incidents scattered throughout the day. A sleep schedule with an afternoon nap is an example of polyphasic sleep. In fact, it is biphasic.
There is evidence to suggest that humans were originally suited to a polyphasic sleeping routine, rather than the arbitrary monophasic one that we are used to. For starters, almost all animals in nature conform to polyphasic behavior. In addition, polyphasic behavior is the predominant mode of sleeping for human infants, and even in the later years, children have to slowly be weaned from the afternoon nap. Furthermore, when people are isolated from the external environment - so that they cannot determine the actual time of the day from natural cues such as sunlight, or artificial cues such as clocks or television programs - they tend to exhibit more napping behavior instead of retaining the single monophasic sleep period during the “night.” Finally, it appears that naps - relatively brief sessions of sleep - are more effective in refreshing the mind, than longer periods of sleep. In a sense, we were taught to “unlearn” this natural way of sleeping, when we had to adjust to the arbitrary 9-to-5 schedule.
How has modern society thrown our sleep mechanisms into chaos? There are many aspects to this question, but one important element that almost all sleep researchers agree on is the invention of night light, from candles all the way to the modern halogen lamp. With the added ability to see in the dark, humans found themselves capable of work even after the sun has set. Having broken free of this constraint, and by using artificial cues - such as clocks and watches - to keep track of time, humans were able to operate on a totally artificial and arbitrary sleep/wake schedule. The increased demand for more attention to the increasing amounts of information in our modern society have discouraged the “unproductive” act of sleeping, as people everywhere try to squeeze more and more “wake” time out of the 24-hour day. Unfortunately for most people, they remain caught in the time-honoured tradition of a monophasic sleep/wake schedule. Sleep research has already found evidence to support the hypothesis that polyphasic schedules are more efficient. In this section, I will show you how we - as cyborgs - can achieve the goal of minimizing sleep time, with a level of effectiveness hardly ever approached by other non-cybernetic human units.
The Biphasic Mode - Making use of a Siesta
When in Mexico do as the Mexicans
A biphasic sleeping schedule takes advantage of the higher effectiveness and rejuvenation capability of short naps. The method I detail here is somewhat biased towards the bigger segment of “main” sleeptime at night. This method is good for people who do not want to entirely forfeit the traditional daytime-wake/nighttime-sleep behaviour. Therefore, it is not as efficient as other methods, but nevertheless a better way of sleeping than the pure monophasic method.
For starters, we should find some way of accommodating the need for an afternoon nap. Studies have shown that this need not be a lengthy period of rest. In fact, 30-minutes of restful sleep are adequate to satisfy the natural desire for a nap, and to effectively refresh our minds for coping with the second half of the day. Business executives who allow themselves this advantage usually take their naps during their lunch hour. Since only a half-hour is necessary, this can be successfully incorporated into their schedule.
The two biggest impediments to effective sleep are light and sound. If either of these are present, the effectiveness of sleep could be reduced, or prevented altogether. Research has found that the worst kinds of sound and light are the intermittent types - those that have no predictable pattern. These interruptions prevent the body from entering delta sleep. It seems as though your body doesn’t “dare” go to sleep when so much unpredictable activity is happening around it. This is most likely a survival instinct.
In order to minimize the distractions of light and sound, I have found that simple solutions work best. The use of an eyeshade, or some kind of cloth wrapped comfortably around the eyes, works to block out light. To diminish the volume of disturbing noise, I use earplugs. There are many types of earplugs available from your local pharmacy, but the best ones I find are the soft spongy types. Other earplugs are either too hard and feel bulky, or are made of materials such as down or wool, which have fibers that can become itchy or cause allergic reactions in some people. By blocking out noise and light, you help the body enter restful sleep. A loud alarm clock (which pierces the earplug barrier) placed nearby will serve to awaken you so that you don’t sleep past the absolute minimum time necessary for refreshment.
One excellent method of ensuring effective siestas is through the use of a cybernetic brain machine. These devices are covered in Chapter Nine. For now, let me just say that I use a subliminal cassette program that is exactly 30-minutes in length. The subliminal programming induces theta and delta brainwaves, and essentially what it does is “force” me to go to sleep. At the end of the program, the subliminals automatically induce beta waves and wakes me up. Unless I am truly fatigued, I have no problems with this. The 30-minute nap session feels like several hours, and afterwards I feel totally refreshed and ready for the second half of the day. This is an excellent example of using cybernetic assistance to make our natural biology cooperate with us.
The Polyphasic Mode - Maximizing Organic Sleeptime
The Leonardo da Vinci secret
Almost everyone has heard of Leonardo da Vinci. We regard him as a great painter, and inventor. But did you know that he had a very big advantage over most other people? He slept for only 1.5 hours every night. In effect, he had 22.5 hours of wakeful activity every day!
This remarkable “secret” is narrated by Giancarlo Sbragia, a playwright and actor who lives in Rome.10 He claims that he might have come across da Vinci’s secret via, of all people, a psychic medium! In any case, it is an intriguing and fascinating method of minimizing sleep without drastic reduction in wakeful performance.
The da Vinci method, briefly, required the person to operate on a 4-hour basis. (This is in line with the scientific conclusion of the human tendency to gravitate towards a 4-hour schedule, as discussed in preceding sections). At the end of every 4-hour wake phase, the person sleeps for 15 minutes. Then, the cycle is reset, and the person operates in a wakeful state for another 4 hours before he sleeps again.
Although intriguing, it may be very difficult for most people to achieve this schedule. Sbragai himself stated that it was necessary for him to learn certain meditation techniques in order to execute this sleep schedule properly. For most people without these skills, I venture to speculate that it would be quite impossible to sleep for only 15 minutes for every 4 hours of being awake. Therefore, I have modified the da Vinci method.
The modified version that I will now describe is called CyberSleepÂ®. Instead of sleeping for 15 minutes, the person sleeps between a half-hour to one-hour. The method also requires an extended sleep of 2 hours during the early morning period. This is to acknowledge the decreased performance capacity of people during those hours - as I had mentioned before.
To establish the specific times for CyberSleeping - times which are most effective for you and your work schedule - first write down all the things that you have to be awake for every day. If you have to work from 9-to-5, write this down, but include any possible lunch-breaks or other times you can fit a short nap into. If you are a student, write down all the starting and ending times of your classes. Do this for every day of the week.
Now, look at your schedule and determine which periods of time are available for you to put in CyberSleep naps (between a half-hour to one-hour duration). Try to fit in as much nap time as possible, and as evenly distributed over the 24-hours as possible. Remember to allocate a 2-hour sleep period somewhere in the early morning (between 2 am and 5 am).
When determining your polyphasic schedule, keep in mind that you should try to keep wake-periods to about 4 hours, and try not to extend or shorten these periods any more than absolutely necessary. A flexibility of about one hour is probably tolerable, but any more variation than that and you may find it harder to go to sleep during the sleep-periods, or harder to obtain the full benefits of each short nap.
One final point that I must mention is that Sbragai said that one of the hardest things to do with his sleep schedule was finding enough things to do. As a result, there is a high probability of boredom, especially during the late evening and early morning hours when everyone else is sleeping and shops and businesses are closed. It is up to you to find enough work to keep yourself busy and useful. Otherwise, you may want to revert back to the less efficient sleep schedules so that you can “fill in the blanks” with sleep.
The Anchor Method
Flexibility in an Inflexible Society
The da Vinci and CyberSleep methods are, admittedly, relatively esoteric and eccentric (but what revolutionary idea isn’t). Therefore, it may be hard to execute them successfully given the proliferation of monophasic schedules with the majority of the human population, and the general consensus to operate on it as a basis. An alternative method is available to increase flexibility in sleeptime, but allow a person to still increase overall sleep efficiency.
The method is called the Anchor Method. It is was introduced by two researchers - Minors and Waterhouse - in 1981, and is based on an 8-hour total sleep time. The anchor methods requires sleep to be “anchored” to an unvarying 4-hours of sleep every night at the same time, but allows the remaining 4-hours to be taken at any other time during the day, as the person desires. The “flexible” 4-hour portion must be used as a whole and not fragmented into component naps.
The anchor method allows a person to sleep with a relatively traditional uninterrupted “anchor sleep” period, but reduces that inflexible portion to 4-hours, and provides freedom to adapt to changing demands via the “non-anchor” portion of the total sleep time.
The Absolute Minimum
Scientists have determined that there is an absolute minimum amount of time that the average human person requires for normal functioning. They call this core sleep and any additional sleep time as optional sleep. Core sleep is usually 5 hours for most humans. This varies dramatically in some people, sometimes to the point of virtually not needing sleep at all. But 5 hours is the average amount, and is really all that is necessary for us to obtain the physiological benefits.
For those people who may be able to operate with only core sleeping, it may be possible to dispense altogether with the polyphasic methods. By sleeping between the hours of, for example, 1 am to 5 am, a person would have at his command a day of 19 hours.
A variation in this core sleep method would be to add an additional 30-minutes of nap time during the afternoon, around 1 PM.
System Shutdown - Induction of Sleep
Keeping the jumping sheep well away
Thus far we have discussed several modes of sleeping which can increase our overall time available for activities. We now focus our efforts onto the bigger problem: Getting quality sleep by getting to sleep. Inability to enter sleep essentially renders our carefully plotted sleep-periods worthless, and throws our entire plan into havoc.
The first thing to know is that the best way of making your body sleep quickly is to not let it sleep for a while. In other words, by forcing yourself to be awake for extended periods of time, you will ensure that your mind is fully ready to enter sleep once the opportunity is available. This method of forcing yourself to stay awake is useful for initializing a new sleep regime. For example, when converting from monophasic sleep into a polyphasic sleep schedule, it is best to try to stay awake for maybe 36 hours, and then allow yourself a half-hour or one-hour sleep period, to initialize the cycle. Then you wake up, and work for 4-hours, and sleep again. After a few days, your body should adapt to this new sleeping regime, and your circadian rhythms will be entrained to the new schedule.
An important point to note regarding sleep, and which is very much related to trying to keep yourself awake, is that certain chemicals affect your body’s ability to “recharge” during the actual sleep periods. The two major enemies to quality sleep are caffeine and nicotine. Other stimulants are also detrimental to a good night’s sleep, but these two substances are readily available and easily exposed to. Perhaps it is of interest to you to know that caffeine, for example, can take up to 24 hours before your body totally eliminates it from the system. Caffeine and nicotine can affect your body so much that delta mode is hardly entered into, regardless of how long you have been able to sleep. People pulling “all-nighters” by drinking lots of coffee, smoking cigarettes, and restricting their sleep usually end up in less-than-perfect states of mind when morning arrives. The student cramming for an exam in such a manner will not have the full complement of his mental faculties available during the actual exam, and suffers from lowered concentration ability, higher risks of making careless mistakes, a dramatic reduction in memory recall, and a diminished proficiency to think logically. On top of all this, the stimulants in his bloodstream make him nervous and panicky. Lucky (or blessed) indeed is the person who can pull off an A+ in such a state of disarray!
But to return to our discussion concerning sleep, we must try to totally eliminate these and other artificial stimulants in our bodies, by refraining from smoking and drinking coffee. I understand that these are terribly hard habits to break - I’ve been there - but if you are committed to utilizing a higher-performance sleep schedule, because you need the extra time, then you absolutely must allow your body the full potential to enter deep sleep. Otherwise, you simply will not be refreshed after the sleep period, and it would become impossible to maintain the sleep routine without seriously reducing your wakeful performance. Even with the use of subliminals to induce sleep, a body loaded with stimulant chemicals will be reluctant to succumb to the induction.
Speaking of chemicals, one substance that is naturally occurring in our bodies is serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter - a chemical that your body uses to transmit information between its nervous system. We will encounter neurotransmitters again in Chapter Nine when we discuss cognitive chemicals. In the meanwhile, I would just like to point out that serotonin is necessary for the proper maintenance of sleep. If its levels are too low, then it is harder for a person to enter deep sleep. Adequate levels of serotonin also ensure that the sleep latency period is reduced - the period of time it takes a person to “fall asleep” once the lights are off. With regards to our objective of sleep induction, it pays to have enough serotonin in our bodies. One way of getting this important neurotransmitter is through milk. Dairy milk contains L-Tryptophan, a substance which is the precursor of the serotonin neurotransmitter - your body transforms L-Tryptophan into serotonin (your body also requires a small amount of Vitamin B6 and magnesium to help convert L-Tryptophan into serotonin so take a multi-vitamin and mineral pill containing these nutrients along with your milk). That’s why sometimes you may have been told to try drinking a glass of warm milk if you can’t sleep. Unfortunately, dairy milk is also the source of many health problems. In fact, many health experts discourage people from eating or drinking dairy products of any kind. (Please see the health sources in Appendix B.) Therefore, for CyberSleep purposes, I recommend you treat drinking milk along the lines of taking sleeping pills - don’t overdo it.
The body’s levels of serotonin could also be affected by electromagnetic fields. This may sound somewhat paradoxical to a cyborg, who is half organic and half electromechanical. But even cyborgs have to sleep - and, like Philip K. Dick asked us, “Do androids [and cyborgs] dream of electric sheep?” - and we must take measures to ensure that we do not have extraneous magnetic influences that disturb the proper functioning of our bodies. Thus, when you go to bed, stay away from electrical appliances. Make sure your body - especially your head - is well away from electric wall outlets, or wires and cables that run from those outlets. Don’t put anything with a magnetic field near your bed - such as televisions, telephones, and especially HiFi speakers (such as those from a ghetto-blaster) because all these items have magnets inside them.
Another factor which influences our desire and ability to sleep is sunlight. Exposure to sunlight helps people to entrain their circadian rhythms to be awake during the sunlight periods. This is useful if that is what you want to do. However, a polyphasic sleep schedule usually requires sleep periods during the day, when there is usually plenty of sunshine. Therefore, we must again block out this natural cue of sunlight either by the use of eyeshades, or by sleeping in a room devoid of light. Sometimes, when I am using a polyphasic schedule, I find places that are totally dark - and safe! - to sleep in. I have successfully maintained these daytime sleep-periods in bathrooms, walk-in-closets, underneath a bed, in the trunk of a car (with folded-down seats), and even in a laundry room. The key things to note are that you must find a relatively dark and quiet place, and you must also be comfortable. I used to carry around an inflatable air mattress - a part of my camping equipment - to allow me to sleep pretty much anywhere I need to.
Recall the high priority I gave to the maintenance of the “zero zone,” or the sense of minimal stimulation and external influence. When utilizing non-traditional sleeping cycles, a zero zone is critical for success. Why is this? Well, the final factor that can disrupt the successful implementation of our sleeping schedule is, in fact, the most important one: Other people. And of all people, the ones who have the most potential to affect us are our friends. The reason why I say this is because even though our family and lovers may be closer to us, they will likely understand our situation, and allow us to continue our sleeping schedule. With friends, the willingness to leave us be would not be as high. I am not saying that our friends would be deliberately trying to screw up our lives. Instead, they may not understand or appreciate the importance of the situation, and may even try to “help” you adjust back to “normal” time, or try to “save” you from your crazy sleeping plan - which in their minds is obviously a sign of over-exertion and too much work. Therefore, you must try to make everyone around you understand what you are trying to accomplish. If you cannot successfully get the message across to them, it’s time to use some cyborg shielding!
The Organic Connection - Your Living Body
You are what you throw into that big mouth of yours
Thus far we have covered many topics on maximizing your biological potential by the use of techniques, and devices. In a sense, we have been augmenting our biology through a cybernetic connection with semi-artificial help. In this section, I want to draw our attention back to the human body, for it is the foundation and, indeed, very essence of the cybernetic existence.
Because a full dicussion on the topic of health is such an immense undertaking, I can only give you general principles and methods to help you achieve a more efficient and healthier lifestyle. I strongly recommend you go to Appendix B and read the books listed there which concern health and nutrition, for a full coverage of this very important subject.
Let’s look at some remarkable concepts about health.
The Body Machine
Increasing Organic Power from the Ground Up
The key item we have to pay close attention to is energy. Without energy, our body cannot function. The very mentioning of “energy,” especially when talking about bodily health, almost always makes people think about physical energy in terms of sports, or muscular energy. In fact, when I refer to “energy” in the context of this book, I am referring not only to the above types of energy expenditure, but also the energies required for mental functioning, immune system activation, biological waste disposal, and stress tolerence. It may strike some people particularly unexpectedly - especially when it is so obviously that it is easily overlooked - when they realise that our brains require energy to run. They are organs, and like any other organ in the body, demand us to “exercise” it, and keep it in shape by providing the correct “fuels” for its operations. The efficacy of our immune system also depends on sufficient levels of energy. In fact, it does not take a great leap of faith to acknowledge that everything about your body is related to your energy level.
The most basic key to your body’s energy level is nutrition.
It is a fallacy of thinking to believe that even if you eat the wrong things, some parts of your body (for example, your brain maybe) will still function “ok.” People gulp down all kinds of junk, thinking that they can “work it off” later on. Students may binge on pizza and coke, while cramming for an exam in the middle of the night. (In desperation, they may even eat cold pizza!) Actually, everything that these students eat affects the way their brains work, and the way their bodies respond to the added stress of cramming.
Although we all have probably been told, ad nauseum, that we shouldn’t eat junk food because it’s bad for us, most of us still do. That’s OK. Sort of. We all have to “take a breather” and just “mellow out” once in a while. Life wasn’t meant to be lived by sticking to all kinds of rules and trying to be the “perfect” person. If you want to eat something that’s “bad” for you, there is no reason why you shouldn’t unless it affects the quality of your life in the long run. It’s fine to enjoy nasty things such as candy bars, alcohol or fast food, once in a while. But if you ingest these things to the extent that they become synonymous with your name, then you’re going to suffer the consequences of lowered body performance (in all functions) and there is no way around that fact. The critical decision that you should make now is that you will do yourself a favour, and keep in mind that anything unnatural is most likely bad for you. That’s the simplest rule I can think of, concerning proper nutrition.
When I say “unnatural” I don’t mean just the obvious candidates of artificial flavourings and chemical preservatives (if you can’t pronounce or spell it, you probably shouldn’t eat it). I also refer to the “unnatural” aspect of rationale about food. A good example is milk. Cow’s milk, that is, not human milk. There’s a lot of controversy about this food. Some nutritionists say that milk is good for you because it gives you calcium, and protein, and all those nice vitamins and minerals your body needs. The milk companies tell you the same thing. On the other hand, other nutritionists and doctors have decided that milk aggravates allergies and can contribute to a whole slew problems for your body. The bottom line is, cow’s milk was designed for baby cows. Human milk was designed for human babies. You don’t usually see a dog sucking on a cow’s teat for milk now, do you? Or a gorilla mother nursing a lamb. Cow’s milk provides different hormones and nutrients which help the young calf grow up quickly. Drinking cow’s milk, or eating any product made from that milk (including cheese and butter) is sort of like putting the wrong kind of fuel in your car. Evolution had designed the human body to be very adaptable to whatever its environment can provide. That’s one of the reasons why there are so many of us on this planet right now. But just because we can adapt to our foods, doesn’t mean we should eat anything and everything in sight. We must choose our foods carefully. We are what we eat, no ifs, ands or buts…
Along the same lines, we’re not naturally omnivorous. That is, we don’t naturally eat both meat and veggies. We’re frugivores - fruit eaters. Our thumbs were designed to grasp fruit and manipulate it to eat (in addition to making and using tools). Our jaws were designed for biting into and chewing fruit. Our teeth can in no way compare to those of carnivores when it comes to tearing flesh out from a dead animal. Our wimpy fingernails and canines are a poor excuse to go hunting. In fact, we are not even psychologically suited for hunting down and feasting on prey. Tigers, lions, and even dogs and cats will pounce on poor, unsuspecting rabbits or other fare, at any age. Human children would rather play with their Super Nintendo than snack on little furry creatures. (If babies were born with the instinct to hunt down the kitchen mouse for food, that would assuredly bring a whole new meaning to the term “catch-of-the-day!”)
In the final analysis, we were taught to eat whatever we eat now, by other people. They may have been our parents, our teachers, or even our local foodstuffs company. They probably had the best of intentions (with the possible exception of the food companies which have a significant financial interest in our purchase of their products!), but that doesn’t make the logic any sounder. When in doubt, always go with nature. She’s been there for you for more than five million years, and will be in the future. Trust nature, and eat the foods your body was designed to eat. That way, your body will function the way it was designed to, without need to compensate by adapting to less-than-perfect food sources. Did you know that even if you eat meat for “protein content,” your body still has to break down the meat into the component amino acids, and then reassemble them into the configurations that your body requires? There is no “direct conversion” of cow meat into your body. In fact, you can easily get the same amino acids, just by munching on a banana. Saves a hell of a lot of burden on your system. Besides, you don’t really need to eat meat to get protein. Mr. Cow didn’t eat another cow to become so big. He ate grass, of all things! We could eat grass too, if only we had the proper digestive system for it. But since we don’t (cattle have a developed stomach to digest the tough cellophane in plants - our measly appendix is less than useless in that regard) we should stick to our natural fare: Fruits.
But then again, eating only fruits sounds, oh, so boring. Not exactly what you had in mind when you signed up to become a cyborg eh? Well, the cybernetic diet is not that boring. In addition to healthy foods, there are some very interesting things you can pop into your mouth. These will be discussed in Chapter Nine. But for now, just understand that you should “go natural.” Fruits provide the proper energy sources for your brain to work effectively, and encourages your body to clean itself of toxins and other junk. The body itself produces toxic byproducts every day, just from daily operations. No reason why you should add to the garbage pile through eating.
I could go on, and on about this topic, but there is really no need for me to do so. First of all, you can get more extensive information from a book such as Fit For Life, as listed in Appendix B. A discussion that exhausts the information will exhaust the reader as well and is beyond the scope of this chapter. Suffice that your curiously is piqued, and you are motivated to investigate this very important subject on your own. Secondly, there may really be no need for me to say more. You already know the key principles towards good health: Eat what’s naturally wholesome, and do what’s naturally logical. So if your mother tells you that chocolate is bad for you, it probably is. On the other hand, if she insists you eat a large steak, you might want to reconsider your options. (To shift your paradigm, maybe you can think about the poor cow that died and got a piece of its body on the plate in front of you. That’s no fantasy. It’s true. Wouldn’t you rather have a strawberry and pineapple fruit salad instead?) Before you make a drastic change in diet, make sure you consult your doctor, and read up on the topic. Some people experience nausea and loose stools when they switch to a natural diet. Actually, that’s just your body trying to make the best of time, and getting rid of all the accumulated toxins in your body while it has the chance (before you change your mind, and go back to eating junk!). But it’s best to be safe, and have the guidance of doc, coupled with the proper information.
The very first result you get from a better diet is increased energy. You will not feel so sluggish and laggard. You won’t, in a sense, be “lazy” anymore. You might even want to find things to do, just to keep yourself occupied. Also, your brain will work better, and you’ll be able to think clearly, and concentrate more. Your raw memory will also increase, and should function at superior levels when coupled with memory skills. You will also be better protected against diseases and other disorders. Your need for sleep will decrease, and sleep itself will become more effective and more refreshing. A lot of people suddenly find that their allergies are gone, or that they naturally lose the weight they’ve been trying to “work off,” or diet off. Your skin, fingernails and hair will all look and feel much healthier. There isn’t a part of your body that isn’t affected by a change in diet.
One other “positive side-effect” about all of this is that by eating a natural diet you will have simplified a lot of things. You hardly have to cook, and you hardly have to wash up (dishes are so easily cleaned by rinsing with hot water, when you don’t use them to eat greasy foods). A natural diet is such a time and effort saver, it’s a great way to maximize your daily time, especially if you need it to study for exams, or meet a company deadline. When I am under pressure, I go shopping and stock up my “reservoir” of fruits and veggies, sothat I don’t even have to leave the house for the entire week. In the morning, I drink fruit juice, so breakfast takes only ten minutes. I can even munch on bananas while working, and sip fruit juice all day. (The only hard parts are cutting open pineapples and melons, but hey, what’s a guy to do eh?) If you are really trying to save time and effort, you might opt to buy the “premium” orange juices that they now sell in the supermarkets, and those aren’t made from concentrates, so you get much more out of them (concentrating fruit juices destroys a lot of beneficial nutrients, and you don’t get the same natural “water” that the original fruit provided). Premium juices aren’t as good as their fresh-squeezed counterparts, but they’re a superior alternative to other “juices” which either contain 10% real juice (and 90% artificial muck) or have had the good stuff destroyed in the processing procedure.
To conclude our discussion about natural foods, I don’t want you to put a label on this topic and think of it as some kind of “miracle” cure-all method I’ve just presented. It’s just a healthier, and more intelligent, way of eating and living. It’s so simple, it’s almost too obvious. Maybe that’s one reason why a lot of people have overlooked it. So if you really do become a healthier person by eating properly, no need to thank me. Instead, thank the men and women (such as Harvey and Marilyn Diamond who wrote Fit For Life) who brought this subject into the public awareness so that all of us can enjoy the benefits of a supercharged body.
Training Mission - Exercise for the Cybernetic Soldier
Getting off your butt and into a piece of the action
Having increased energy levels is not the only objective in elevating the quality of your life. Your body can benefit from activity. It was built to be used, to be operated, to be put into action. Unless you constantly keep it in shape, your body will “rust” like an abandoned cyborg in an interstellar spaceyard. Exercise will strengthen a lot of muscles, but the most important muscle is your heart. By toning it and your lungs through aerobics and similar cardiovascular exercises, you will make oxygen transfer more efficient. This is important both for thinking capacity, and for immune system functioning.
Zero Gravity on Planet Earth
The best overall exercise is… rebounding. That is, trampolining, or bouncing up and down on a taut piece of fabric. Doesn’t exactly sound too macho for the cyborg warrior now does it? But rebounding is the best kind of exercise you can do. Albert E. Carter, a world authority on rebounding exercise, says that it is “the most efficient, effective form of exercise yet devised by man.” In his book The Miracles of Rebound Exercise, he identifies the key factor in any effective exercise: Resistance against gravity. That is, anyone who is exercising - whether they are dancing, skipping rope, jogging, lifting weights, or even swimming - they are pushing or pulling against forces that resist them, and the common denominator to all these exercise forms is gravity. Rebound exercise maximizes the benefits of gravity resistance. When you bounce, you are exercising every part of your body. The exercise comes from the top and bottom of the bounce. At the bottom, your G-force (gravitational force) is maximized, and your entire body resists the downward movement (from your falling). At the top, your body relaxes, and is in free-fall. This up/down motion and gravity/free-fall effect will tone muscles and in addition will stimulate your immune system. Your so-called immune system is near-synonymous with the lymphatic system. Lymph is the fluid that transports your body’s defenses around, and takes care of the removal of toxins and foreign invaders. The lymph fluid does not move around in the same way your blood circulates because it does not have a central “pump” mechanism. Instead, lymph moves when you move. Muscular contraction/relaxation pushes the lymph. Thus, when you exercise - especially during rebounding - you increase the circulation rate of your lymphatic system, and speed up the immune function. Rebounding is also the safest form of exercise because there is no impact on your body: At the bottom of the bounce, you are gradually slowed down by the stretching of the fabric. There is no jarring shock, unlike an exercise such as jogging. Rebounding is also more efficient, because it maximizes the gravity effects. In fact, rebounding for five minutes a day, especially soon after getting out of bed in the morning, is all you really need. It’s very effective.
Rebound units that are no bigger than a small coffee table in diameter, and which can fit under your bed when not in use, cost only about thirty dollars. There is no need to buy really expensive units, but be sure that the unit you get is well-constructed and won’t suddenly collapse after a few bounces. If you already exercise, you should really consider rebounding as an alternative. It is inexpensive, requires very little time, and is very effective. It is also a very fun way to get healthy. There probably are very few people in this world who haven’t loved to bounce, when they were children, whether on a bed, tree branch, or a parent’s back. (Pity Dad’ and his chiropractor!)
While we’re on the topic of fun exercise, let’s talk about Rollerblading, or more generically known as in-line skating. This form of sport has hit our country like a shock wave, and it’s extremely hard to find a place in the city where in-line skaters don’t come whizzing by. Obviously, there’s got to be good reasons why so many people are “blading,” and there are. Rollerblading is relatively inexpensive, is effective, and above all it’s excellent transportation. People even skate to school and to work.
In-line skates are like turbo units for your feet. When you know how to skate, the world suddenly collapses and shrinks. Places that were too far to walk are now within a couple of minutes’ reach. If you’re a student, skating to school may be the most intelligent choice, and can save you the costs of automobile or public transportation. While at school, skating can reduce the amount of time you spend walking between classes, and makes the entire campus much more accessible to you. Sometimes students neglect to go to the library often enough, because they don’t want to walk “all the way over there.” By zipping around on blades, you make moving about on campus more efficient and fun. In fact, if your library allowed it (or didn’t explicitly ban it!) locating research books on the shelves will be rapidly accomplished, simply by gliding along on skates. You might even be encouraged to do more in-depth research because of all the time and effort you’ve saved, and because it’s so darn fun! As for skating to work, I know some people who do just that, and you might see them flying by on their way to the office, with blades, suit, tie, briefcase and all!
In-line skates range from $80 to more than $400. If you don’t already have skates, a pair costing about $150 will do the job. Look into it, whether as a form of fun exercise you can do with a bunch of friends, or by yourself, or as a form of transportation that is not only environmentally-friendly but can also provide your body with the workout it needs.
Finally, let me remind you again that when it comes to your body, how you treat it is how your body will treat you. Don’t neglect the powerful and wonderful machine you inhabit. By keeping it well-maintained, you will ensure that it will give you many years of service. After all, there’s no money-back guarantee on it, and the non-renewable warranty expired ninety days after you were born!
Now that we’ve taken care of the organic part of us, let’s investigate the cybernetic - or mechanical - side of our cyborg existence. Let’s check out the…
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- Stampi, Pp. 140-141
- Stampi, P. 180[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]